August 21st, 2014
How would you like to have the entire collection of Sierra rifle and pistol bullets at your fingertips, complete with bullet Ballistic Coefficients (BCs) and parts numbers? Well we’ve got you covered. Sierra publishes a handy PDF chart that displays all of Sierra’s popular projectiles, from .20 caliber all the way up to .50 caliber. CLICK HERE to download Sierra Bullets Chart.
CLICK Image to Download PDF Chart with All Sierra Bullet Types (2 MB file)
Detail Sample from Chart
Order Free Sierra Catalog
You can also get a free, hard copy poster with all Sierra’s bullet types. The current Sierra Bullets catalog has a printed insert that folds out into a large poster for your loading room or workshop. To order the current Sierra Catalog (with fold-out poster), visit Sierra’s Catalog Request Page.
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August 15th, 2014
“Where are the bullets, where is the powder?” (ad infinitum) is what you hear from shooters around the country these days. Well we can’t promise more powder, but Sierra Bullets has invested in machinery that should help increase bullet output. Sierra has acquired a 550-ton rated extrusion press that should pump out lead wire faster (for bullet cores). Sierra tells us: “This is a lead extrusion press we had shipped in from the state of Washington. We are diligently working on getting this thing set up and pumping more lead into our process.”
If you’re curious how this beast works, Alan Slocum posted an explanation: “It works kinda’ like this”, referring to the photo below. Sierra’s big machine uses a horizontal hydraulic ram instead of the push-down yellow Play-Doh lever, but yes the basic principle is the same.
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August 9th, 2014
Quality .30-caliber bullets aren’t cheap. But here’s a deal that should make you take notice. Midsouth Shooters Supply has major-maker 175gr HPBT bullets in 500-count lots for just $99.01. That’s right, ninety-nine bucks for FIVE hundred 175-grainers from one of USA’s leading bullet makers. (Clever boys can probably figure out the source).
If you need match-grade .30-caliber bullets for your F-TR or tactical rifle, this is a very good deal — you’re effectively paying just $19.08 per hundred. We haven’t seen these kind of prices on .30-caliber bullets in a long time. If you’re interested, act soon — quantities are limited.
NOTE: These over-run bullets are also listed as OEM blem. That means there may be some cosmetic flaws, such as water spots or discoloration. But they should shoot fine.
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August 8th, 2014
Berger Bullets is now in the ammo business, offering high-quality, loaded ammunition for competition, hunting, and tactical applications. Berger will sell ammo through its new company, Applied Ballistics Munitions (aka “ABM” or “ABM Ammo”). See ABM’s ammunition offerings at www.abmammo.com.
ABM Ammo will offer precision rifle ammunition for three popular cartridge types: .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum. There are three product lines. The “Mission Ready” line is designed for military and tactical use. In addition, ABM will offer “Hunt Ready” ammo for precision hunters and “Match Ready” ammunition for target shooters.
Each product line is loaded with the Berger bullet that best fits a given application. Each of the bullets used have been proven performers among the hand loading community for years and in some cases, decades. The chart below shows the current bullet selections for each of the three product lines:
ABM Ammo Components are Tested Lot by Lot
ABM uses high quality components and tooling to produce the most consistent ammunition possible. In a process developed by ballistics expert Bryan Litz, ABM ammo has been engineered and tested in the Applied Ballistics laboratory. ABM actually tests each individual lot of components used in the loaded cartridges to ensure quality and consistency.
Eric Stecker, President of Applied Ballistics Munitions relays, “Launching an ammunition company in today’s firearm market environment has been a challenging experience. The product will speak for itself among the shooters as to why it is so important that we pursue this effort.” To learn more about Applied Ballistics Munitions, visit www.abmammo.com.
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August 6th, 2014
Michelle Gallagher is now the 2014 NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Champion. Michelle shot a perfect Palma score to win the multi-match championship. When the dust settled, Michelle edged out her mom, Nancy Tompkins, by a single X. Readers asked about Michelle’s choice of bullets. In the Long Range Championships, Michelle used the Berger .30-caliber 155.5gr Match Fullbore Target bullet (for Palma), as well as the 6.5mm 140gr Match Hybrid Target bullet.
Here are some photos from the Long Range championships, courtesy GONRAMedia.
CLICK HERE to see more GONRAMedia photos from Camp Perry.
John Whidden, a three-time NRA Long Range Champion, had a pair of long-range rifles built on modified Anschutz aluminum small-bore stocks. John’s scoped rig (first photo) features a Kelbly Panda Action. The iron sight version (second photo below) has a Winchester action. John has done these conversions for other shooters.
Long Range is not a man’s world by any means. The top two LR places at Perry were claimed by ladies.
Tubeguns built with Gary Eliseo chassis systems were popular on the firing line.
Yes, that is a John Deere Mirage Band shielding this shooter’s barrel.
This service rifle shooter found a way to shield his sights and remember his loved ones.
This competitor transformed a Sinclair loading block into an elevated ammo caddy. Clever piece of kit!
“Wagons HO!”. Shooters await the long ride to the pits for target duties.
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August 6th, 2014
Berger Bullets has improved its online stability calculator. Tests have shown that bullets can suffer from reduced BC if the bullet rpm (spin rate) is less than optimal, even if barrel twist rate is otherwise fast enough to stabilize bullets in flight. Now, the improved, free Stability Calculator can determine if you need a faster-twist barrel to enjoy the best BC from your bullets.
CLICK HERE for FREE Berger Twist Rate Stability Calculator
By Bryan Litz, Chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets
We’re happy to announce a major upgrade to our Twist Rate Stability Calculator which is free to use on the Berger Bullets webpage. The old stability calculator was pretty basic, and would simply return a gyroscopic stability number based on your bullet, twist rate, and atmospheric conditions. This was used to determine if your barrels twist rate was fast enough to stabilize a particular bullet or not, based on the Gyroscopic Stability Factor (SG) being greater than 1.4.
Stability and BC — How Bullet RPM Affects Ballistic Coefficients
The new calculator still calculates SG, but also goes much further. In addition to calculating stability, the upgraded calculator can also tell you if your stability level is harming the effective BC of your bullets or not. Extensive testing has proven that bullets fired with stability levels between 1.2 and 1.5 can fly with excellent precision (good groups), but suffer from a depressed BC, sometimes as much as 10%. Shooting the bullets from faster twist rate barrels allows for the bullets to fly better and realize their full BC potential.
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August 4th, 2014
Shiny brass — it may not shoot more accurately, but it does make you feel better about your hand-loaded ammo. While it’s not necessary to get brass “bright and shiny” after every firing, it is a good idea to clean powder residue, grime, and grit off your brass before you run cases into sizing dies. There are many ways to clean cartridge cases. A quick wipe with solvent on a patch may suffice for recently-shot cases. Older brass with baked-on carbon may require lengthy tumbling. Ultrasonic cleaning is another popular option that gets your brass clean inside and out.
Sinclair International has a series of helpful videos on brass cleaning. These short “how-to” videos, hosted by Bill Gravatt, Sinclair’s past President, cover the various processes you can use — tumbling, ultrasonic cleaning, chemical cleaning, and cleaning by hand.
Video ONE — Cleaning Brass in Vibratory or Rotary Tumbler
TIP: Brass that has recently been shot will clean more easily than brass that has been sitting many days or weeks. If your tumbling media is fresh the job should be done in an hour or less. It’s your choice whether to tumble with primers removed or with primers still in the cases. If you choose to tumble with primers out, we suggest you deprime with a depriming die, rather that put dirty brass into your sizing die. Some people like to add a teaspoon of liquid polish to the media. This does work, cutting tumble time, and making your brass more shiny. However, if you add liquid polish, do that BEFORE you add the brass and let the tumbler run for a 15 minutes to get the polish completely mixed into the media. Otherwise you can else up with gooey gunk inside your cases — a very bad thing.
Video TWO — Ulstrasonic Case Cleaning
TIP: There are many different types of solutions you can use. Soapy water suffices for some folks, particularly if you add a little Lemi-Shine. The Hornady and Lyman solutions work well, and can be used multiple times, provided you strain the solution to remove dirt and grit after cleaning sessions. Many ultrasonic cleaning machines have timers. Experiment with dwell time to see how long you need to immerse your brass. A very small amount of Ballistol in the solution will help lubricate your necks on the inside. This can make bullet seating go more smoothly, with more consistent neck tension.
Video THREE — Chemical Cleaners (Soaking without Ultrasound)
TIP: After using chemical cleaners, such as the Iosso solution, you need to water-rinse your brass thoroughly. A kitchen strainer helps with this (see video at 0:20). Also, don’t forget your brass in the chemical solution — follow the manufacturers recommendations and don’t exceed the recommended dwell time. Chemical cleaners work surprisingly well to remove grease and grime, and the solution can be re-used multiple times. However, if you want your cases to look bright and shiny (like new brass), you will probably have to tumble.
Video FOUR — Manual Cleaning (By Hand)
TIP: Keep some oversize patches in your range kit. At the end of your shooting sessions, wipe off your fired brass with a patch dampened with a mild, non-corrosive solvent (once again Ballistol works well). Before the carbon sets up on your brass it is very easy to remove. For tougher jobs, you can use 0000 Steel Wool (as Bill recommends in the video). You may find that timely hand-cleaning lets you avoid tumbling altogether — or you may choose to tumble (or ultra-sound) your brass only after a half-dozen or so firings.
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August 3rd, 2014
Need something for the walls of your “man cave” or reloading room? Check out these jumbo-size cartridge posters. The creators of the Cartridge Comparison Guide now offer three very large full-color printed posters. These can be tacked to a wall or matted/framed to hang like paintings. Three different posters are available.
Rifleman’s Classic Poster (38″ x 27″)
The Rifleman’s Classic Poster, a full 38 inches wide and 27 inches tall, is the most comprehensive. This $19.95 poster displays 272 rifle cartridge types at true size (within 4/1000 of an inch). Cartridges shown range from .17 caliber all the way up to the big boomers (including some cannon shells). The Rifleman’s Classic poster includes all American Standardized Rifle Cartridges (as of 2013) and many European rifle cartridges. The poster is a good representation of military cartridges dating back to WWI and includes cartridges such as the 13X92mm MSR and the .55 Boys.
CLICK Image to Enlarge:
American Standard Cartridge Poster (Rifle, Handgun, Shotgun) — $15.95
The 36″ x 24″ American Standard Poster displays 165 rifle cartridges, 55 handgun cartridges, and 9 different shotgun gauges. This includes all American Standardized Cartridges (rifle, handgun, and shotgun) available as of January 2012. All cartridge types are displayed in full color, actual size. The rifle selection includes all standard hunting cartridges from the 17 Mach 2 through the .505 Gibbs and .577 Nitro. Bonus cartridges include the .375 and .408 Chey-Tac, .416 Barrett, .50 BMG, 50-20 and 20mm. The Handgun section covers cartridges from the 17 HMR to the 500 S&W. Shotgun cartridges include the .410 and 32 gauge up to the 8 gauge. NOTE: Wildcat, proprietary, and obsolete-historic cartridges are NOT included in this poster.
CLICK Image to Enlarge:
BIG BORE Cartridge Poster (215 Cartridges) — $15.95
The 36″ x 24″ Big Bore Poster illustrates over 215 large=caliber rifle cartridges, all shown actual size in full color. These include Standard, Historic, Military, Proprietary and Wildcat rifle cartridges side by side. Cartridges illustrated range from the subsonic .338 Spectre up to the monstrous .729 Jongmans. The poster also includes historically significant cartridges such as the 12 Gauge Paradox, 4 Bore, 1″ Nordfelt, 50 BAT Spotter, .50 BMG, .5 Vickers, 12.7×108 Russian, 20mm, 25mm, 30mm and more.
CLICK Image to Enlarge:
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July 26th, 2014
The better, up-to-date ballistics programs let you select either G1 or G7 Ballistic Coefficient (BC) values when calculating a trajectory. The ballistic coefficient (BC) of a body is a measure of its ability to overcome air resistance in flight. You’ve probably seen that G7 values are numerically lower than G1 values for the same bullet (typically). But that doesn’t mean you should select a G1 value simply because it is higher.
Some readers are not quite sure about the difference between G1 and G7 models. One forum member wrote us: “I went on the JBM Ballistics website to use the web-based Trajectory Calculator and when I got to the part that gives you a choice to choose between G1 and G7 BC, I was stumped. What determines how, or which one to use?”
The simple answer to that is the G1 value normally works better for shorter flat-based bullets, while the G7 value should work better for longer, boat-tailed bullets.
G1 vs. G7 Ballistic Coefficients — Which Is Right for You?
G1 and G7 refer both refer to aerodynamic drag models based on particular “standard projectile” shapes. The G1 shape looks like a flat-based bullet. The G7 shape is quite different, and better approximates the geometry of a modern long-range bullet. So, when choosing your drag model, G1 is preferrable for flat-based bullets, while G7 is ordinarily a “better fit” for longer, boat-tailed bullets.
Drag Models — G7 is better than G1 for Long-Range Bullets
Many ballistics programs still offer only the default G1 drag model. Bryan Litz, author of Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting, believes the G7 standard is preferrable for long-range, low-drag bullets: “Part of the reason there is so much ‘slop’ in advertised BCs is because they’re referenced to the G1 standard which is very speed sensitive. The G7 standard is more appropriate for long range bullets. Here’s the results of my testing on two low-drag, long-range boat-tail bullets, so you can see how the G1 and G7 Ballistic coefficients compare:
G1 BCs, averaged between 1500 fps and 3000 fps:
Berger 180 VLD: 0.659 lb/in²
JLK 180: 0.645 lb/in²
The reason the BC for the JLK is less is mostly because the meplat was significantly larger on the particular lot that I tested (0.075″ vs 0.059″; see attached drawings).
For bullets like these, it’s much better to use the G7 standard. The following BCs are referenced to the G7 standard, and are constant for all speeds.
Berger 180 VLD: 0.337 lb/in²
JLK 180: 0.330 lb/in²
Many modern ballistics programs, including the free online JBM Ballistics Program, are able to use BCs referenced to G7 standards. When available, these BCs are more appropriate for long range bullets, according to Bryan.
[Editor's NOTE: BCs are normally reported simply as an 0.XXX number. The lb/in² tag applies to all BCs, but is commonly left off for simplicity.]
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July 25th, 2014
In our Shooters’ Forum, a member recently noted that he needed to pull down (disassemble) some ammunition that was loaded incorrectly by one of his shooting buddies. You can use an impact puller to do this task, but if you have more than a dozen rounds or so, you may prefer to use a collet-style bullet puller. These work very quickly and positively, making quick work of big jobs. The efficiency of the collet-style puller is worth the investment if you frequently disassemble ammo. These devices retail for under $25.00 (collets sold separately). Normally, you’ll need a specific collet for each bullet diameter. But collets are not that costly, so this isn’t a big deal, particularly if you only load a few calibers, such as .223, 6mm, and .308.
Collet bullet-pullers resemble a loading die with a lever or handle on the top. They screw into a standard reloading press. Hornady and RCBS both make collet-style bullet pullers. They use the same basic principle — the device tightens a collet around the bullet, and then the bullet is separated from the case by lowering the press ram. NOTE: Collet pullers may leave small marks on your bullets, unlike impact (kinetic) pullers.*
Hornady and RCBS use different mechanisms to tighten the collet around the bullet. On Hornady’s Cam-Lock Bullet Puller, a lever-arm on the top of the bullet puller serves to tighten the collet around the bullet. Simply rotate the lever from the vertical to the horizontal position to grab the bullet. Lower the ram to remove the case. The bullet will drop out when you return the lever arm to the vertical position. This is demonstrated in the video below:
Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet Puller Demonstrated
Like the Hornady tool, the RCBS Bullet Puller employs a collet to grab the bullet. However, the RCBS tool tightens the collet in a different way. The head of the RCBS tool is threaded internally. By rotating the lever arm clockwise in a horizontal circle you squeeze the collet around the bullet. To remove the bullet, after lowering the press ram, simply spin the lever arm back in the opposite direction. The use of the RCBS tool is demonstrated in this video:
RCBS Collet Bullet Puller Demonstrated:
WARNING: When removing bullets from loaded cartridges, always make sure there are no obsructions or debris in your shell-holder or under the loaded round. NEVER engage a primer seating accessory on your press when working with loaded rounds. You can cause a round to discharge by contacting the primer! Also, we recommend you keep your head and torso away from the bullet puller tool at all times.
*By contrast, impact pullers rarely mark bullets, particularly if you put a little bit of foam or paper wadding in the closed end of your impact puller. When dismantling loaded rounds, powder kernels can get trapped in the wadding, so you should remove and replace the wadding before changing to cartridges loaded with a different powder type (assuming you intend to save the powder).
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July 19th, 2014
The folks at PMA Tool, makers of arbor presses, neck-turning tools, and other case-prep tools, offer some good advice about case trimming on the PMA Tool Blog. Here we reprint a PMA blog post that explains case trimming basics and helps you choose the right case-trimming tool for your needs.
Case Trimming Basics
Trimming the cartridge case to the proper length is a crucial step in case preparation that should not be overlooked or underestimated. The cartridge case or the rifle can be damaged, or even worse you get badly injured. In most instances cases should be trimmed after firing and sizing. Trimming new brass is necessary for a lot of wildcats and can be beneficial in some instances, but by and large, trimming new brass is not necessary for most situations (unless you are neck-turning). Cases should be trimmed after you have sized the case, because the expander ball on the decapping pin can (and will) stretch the neck. Those of us who neck size should get into the habit of trimming after sizing as well. This is a good rule of thumb to go by, and hopefully it will keep you safe during the reloading and shooting process.
There are so many case trimmers out there that work, deciding which one is right for you can be confusing. Even though I have trimmed thousands of cases, using about every method possible, I can’t answer the question of what case trimmer is right for you because of all the variables that may be involved. I can, however shed some light on the subject.
The two most popular designs of trimmers either index (1) off the base or the head of the case, (2) off the shoulder or datum line of the case. There are pros and cons to each and it all depends on what you are willing to live with.
Indexing off the Base (Case Head)
Let’s talk about the first one I have listed, indexing off the base, or the head of the case. The pros to this method are that you can achieve a very accurate over all length and that is after all, what it is all about. The cons to this method are that you can get some variation doing it this way. Let me explain, the base is not always square to the body or can be damaged during firing especially if it is fired through a military style rifle with a very aggressive ejector. These cases should be discarded, but sometimes they can be overlooked. This condition can lead to an over all length that is incorrect. The case head being out of square will be corrected upon firing, however that case will wind up being shorter than the rest of your cases, possibly creating a difference in the neck tension on the bullet. The more you can do to eliminate variables in your reloads the better off you are going to be. This method can also be very slow, and if the user gets careless the result will be a inconsistent over all length.
Indexing off the Shoulder (Datum Line)
The second method I mentioned, trimming off the shoulder or the datum line of the case, has its pros as well. I have found this to be the quickest of the methods and very accurate as well. After the case has been sized through the die the dimensions (particularly the headspace) of the cases are usually very uniform and exact, this allows the case to be trimmed by indexing off the shoulder. This method can be done very quickly, by hand, or by powering either the case, or the trimmer. You also don’t have to worry about the case heads being out of square with the body using this method. Generally the trimming time is cut in half, and this leads to greater focus on the job, without becoming careless. [Editor's Note: The World's Finest Trimmer (WFT) is one power device that indexes off the shoulder datum. It works fast and is very precise. The new WFT 2 Model with interchangeable trim chambers works with multiple cartridge types.]
Story Tip by EdLongrange. User Submissions are welcome.
The choice is yours to make. I hope that this was some help to you, whether you are looking for your first trimmer or looking to replace the trimmer you have. Just remember to always put safety first and accuracy second, and you will start making little bug holes in no time.
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July 15th, 2014
Need Primers? Midsouth Shooters Supply (Midsouth) has a large selection of primers in stock right now. Yes Midsouth has the hard-to-find CCI BR-4 Small Rifle Benchrest primers, CCI 450s (small rifle magnum APS), Remington 6 1/2 small rifle, and Federal Large Rifle Magnum. Midsouth also has large quantities of Winchester primers. And if you need pistol or shotshell primers, Midsouth has plenty of those right now as well.
If you need an extra incentive to grab some primers, get this — for a limited time, Midsouth is offering FREE Haz-mat on Primer purchases. That’s right, Haz-Mat is FREE when you purchase five or more boxes of primers (mix and match qualifies). This offer is for ground shipping only, and regular shipping fees still apply. This offer ends July 20, 2014.
Hot Deal — FREE Haz-Mat with Purchase of Five or More Boxes of Primers.
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